Part of: SEO Glossary
Alt in html is an attribute to the img tag. It's purpose is to provide an alternative text description of the image it is associated with. The intent is to make web pages more accessible to the disabled. When you move your cursor over an image such as below, the text that is displayed comes from the alt attribute for that image.
The html for the above image is basic:
<img border="0" src="../images/canada.gif" width="27" height="15" alt="Canada Flag">
Some handicapped people browse the web by their computer reading the words on the page. It helps them to know when they've accessed an image and what that image is.
SEO specialists are in agreement that the alt attribute text (alt="Canada Flag") is factored into the overall value of the text on the page. So if there are 5 images on the web page, 20 words in the alt tags and a total of 400 words, those 20 words account for 5% of the text count for a web page. What some SEO specialists have realized is this is a great place to place additional weight towards the keywords being targeted. A search engine robot is blind. It cannot identify what an image looks like and equate a value to it for your webpage. It's up to you to properly guide a robot as to the images online, and while doing so, you'll make your pages more accessible for the handicapped.
White Hat SEO
Probably the best usage of this tag is for the identification of images in image searches at the various search engines. Searches such as Google Image Search assist netizens in finding images online by using both the title of the image and the alt attribute to describe the image.
HTML4 provides additional tools to assist handicap visitors with accessing your website. To read further on using such tags for this purpose visit the Web Accessibility Initiative. Some of these additional tools may assist you further in search engine optimization.
Black Hat SEO
Avoid stuffing keywords into image tags. Search engines highly frown on excessive use of keywords. SEO programs such as WebCEO can warn you if you are in danger of excessive usage.
Avoid using keywords that do no reflect the image it's
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